According to the Property Council’s latest Retirement Living Planning Report Card, carried out by Urbis, state and territory governments must increase the availability of land, improve the alignment of accommodation with older Australians’ needs, elevate the importance of retirement living planning in planning schemes and support more commercially viable developments.
The Property Council said these steps were necessary to deliver better products for older Australians.
Warning that Australia is at risk of a “silver tsunami” as the number of people aged 65 and older grows at its fastest rate yet, executive director at the Property Council Ben Myers said it’s “vital” that an appropriate level of suitable accommodation is provided for older Australians.
“The Retirement Living Planning Report Card shows that our states, together with local governments, can provide a more strategic role in ensuring there is land available for forms of seniors housing, like retirement villages and other independent living communities,” Mr Myers said.
“Issues such as zoning and overly restrictive height controls can inhibit the redevelopment potential of existing communities to ensure the expectations of Australian retirees are met.
“Without changes to planning policy and improved awareness at council level, seniors may find their choices limited, and be more likely to be stuck in homes that reduce their ability to stay independent and healthy.”
He said retirees would see huge benefits from specific policies and targets, while Urbis associate director and author of the report, Kylie Newcombe, said all states scored poorly on planning systems.
“We need to switch the mindset from planning as a barrier, to planning as an enabler,” she said.
“Common hurdles to developing seniors housing are the ongoing competition for land, historic zoning and height restrictions, and a general lack of understanding of the market’s needs by authorities.
“Ideally, there would be a more flexible approach that is tailored to what seniors need and want.”